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Half the sky, huh?

September 6, 2012

But only a fraction of who appears on the air and in print. That’s how the math adds up — or doesn’t — for the Fourth Estate’s written coverage of the presidential races and its plan for the televising of upcoming debates, according to Amy Kroin of freepress. A new report shows how, at least in election coverage, 2012 — notable already for hot-button issues such as abortion, birth control and “other issues directly impacting women” — is The Year of The Man.

So this extra-credit opportunity is only for the women in the class. (Fellas, you’ll get your chance, but this one’s off limits to you.)

Replying directly to this post (look below to the left, and click on LEAVE A COMMENT), react intelligently in 150-200 words to Kroin’s brief article. You have until 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, to score bonus blog comment points.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2012 11:10 am

    I would have been ecstatic if this article was written by a man; however, AMY Kroin is the only one who has brought these statistics to my attention. As if there isn’t enough to keep up with about the 2012 election already, this issue has now been thrown into the mix and has made me even more irritated.

    I am not suggesting that women’s rights have not grown since in early 1900’s when women were barely earning the right to vote… I am asking the question, why can’t the credibility of women keep up with our rapidly advancing culture? Kroin stated that “men have written three-quarters of the articles on the presidential race.” Being such a bold fact, it was something that I surprisingly that had never been brought to my attention before.

    I am curious about the “groundbreaking” decision of mixing in 2 women into coverage of the presidential debate. Was this a result of trying to balance the male vs. female coverage and please the public? Or is this happening because Crowley and Raddatz are two very educated and outstanding journalists? To give the decision makers the benefit of the doubt, I am hopeful to guess that it was a mix of both conclusions.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 11:53 am

      Your first point reminds me of the African maxim “Until lions write their own history, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” You have to begin asking about who controls the modes of production. Sorry, but I’m glad you’re irritated. Now, how will you act on this information?

  2. Michelle Roman permalink
    September 6, 2012 12:04 pm

    I really agree with the article when it says that this is just “bad reporting” of the news. It really is not fair that a majority of the topics covered are reported by men. Men are not the only people in this world and they cannot possibly understand some of the topics -such as abortion – going on in this election as much as a women could. We are not in the 18th century where women could not vote, we are in the year 2012 and I think we should be treated that way. Female news reporters should be covering the presidential news equally as men reporters are.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 11:55 am

      Whether you aspire to be a journalist or are just otherwise concerned about fairness and gender equity, I hope you will think about what you would do to effect the change that would be necessary to achieve these goals.

  3. September 6, 2012 6:19 pm

    I question whether or not this was intentional or just a coincidence. It’s hard to think that three-fourths of men writing articles concerning the presidential race happened by chance. What is the reasoning behind this madness? Clearly abortion and birth control are some of the main topics covered in this campaign, yet barley any women will be front and center to interview candidates. Possibly major news stations believe women have too much “heart” and emotional attachment to these issues to be able to take an unbiased viewpoint? That is somewhat understandable, but don’t guys have their own viewpoint on these issues too? Whether they are male or female, everyone is going to have their own stance on these issues. Just because men are typically the forerunners in politics, doesn’t mean that they have to be in the news media. Times are changing and the news press needs to keep up to appeal to the mass.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 1:29 pm

      Sometimes, patriarchy has succeeded through benign tolerance of the fact it predominates.

  4. Brittany Middlebrook permalink
    September 6, 2012 11:39 pm

    Personally I do not feel that men should talk about situations that deal with women. Do men have to get abortions? Do men take birth control? No they do not. Why should they have all the right to talk the issues in the first place. Women should be able to speak up and talk about “womenly issues.” Why is a man talking about things that have no impact on his body in any way? Women should not be discriminated in any shape or form. Our word is just as important as a mans. We are living in a society where men and women are equal. Our past generations have fought and strived to give women the rights we have today, why are women still being put down? I think it is great to have women included in the presidential debate and smack down. It shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place. We are living in the 21st centry, just because women don’t have the same “parts” as men, doesn’t mean we should be looked down upon and not treated fairly in any means.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 1:31 pm

      Some men have good ideas, so I wouldn’t exclude all of them. How would you engage other women and promote to them the idea of achieving equity?

  5. Kelly Brachle permalink
    September 6, 2012 11:48 pm

    The feminist half of me agrees with Kroin; the gender imbalance in election news coverage is reprehensible. Then my devil’s advocate cuts in: Kroin alludes to the fact that this imbalance is bad reporting because men are covering an election highlighting issues directly affecting women, like abortion and birth control. Does one necessarily have to have lady bits to understand issues affecting said lady bits? A male OBGYN’s entire career revolves around parts he’ll (most likely) never have.

    Also, if these journalists are reporting reliable, actionable news, then why does it matter if they are men or women? A quick search of newspapers listed in The 4th Estate Project’s survey for articles on birth control pulled stories written by men that were either strictly informative or opinion pieces in strong support for (the author’s perception of) women’s rights. One male blogger expressed outrage that women were being dragged “back to the dark ages.”

    Is it bogus that men still dominate journalism after all this time? Of course it is. Women journalists should have an equal opportunity to take the lead in important news coverage. Am I going to get my ovaries in a bunch about it? Probably not.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 1:33 pm

      Kelly, I wish I’d read your comment before replying above. You say much more eloquently and convincingly what was on my mind. And you’ve given me a good idea for a research project, so thanks! (If you’re interested in a directed study and want to help, see me.)

      • Kelly Brachle permalink
        September 18, 2012 8:44 pm

        My devil’s advocate is thoroughly enjoying the fact that a PhD found a post with the phrase “get my ovaries in a bunch about it” eloquent. Alas, a directed study on this subject may not be in the stars for me – I’m a business major who has run out of electives. But who knows? I might get into journalism after this class… which is a great class, by the way – very enlightening so far. Thanks, Dr. Kenney!

  6. Samantha Martin permalink
    September 7, 2012 9:01 pm

    It is simply unfair that women are being pushed to the wayside. Although it is a good change of pace to see women like Candy Clowley and Martha Raddatz being given the opprotunity to handle different situations regarding the presidential and vice presidential debates, it is still slightly sexist that women are being herded like sheep in a field to the tasks that the men deem women capable of handling. We are working so hard to acheive just as much, if not more, than men are. We are trying to go above and beyond the standards that the world holds us to but continue to be pushed down by the pride of the male species. The simple fact of the matter is, if men can not put high and mighty attitudes aside then the women will not have the chance expand and grow. The biggest opprontunites that they will have will be listening to an ear piece for their next objective.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 1:43 pm

      I’m not sure what your final sentence means, but it sounds intriguing! Again, your being offended by what this might mean is a good sign. What are you going to do about it?

  7. Heaven Mueller permalink
    September 8, 2012 12:45 am

    In an ideal world, all news would be unbiased so every reader would have the opportunity to make his or her own conclusion about a certain story. You would not be able to tell the views of the journalist by reading his or her article. In most cases it really shouldn’t matter if a reporter is a man or a woman. Either way, their article should reflect the views of the candidate they are interviewing, not their own. Men and women are both reporting about this election, however, men seem to have more leeway. They can ask a candidate what ever they want (unless it is a question about one of the topics that are off limits) and write about it. Unfortunately, the female reporters do not have this opportunity. Since the questions they ask come from someone else talking to them through an earpiece, the questions become biased in a way. It would be interesting to read a story from a female reporter if she were allowed to ask her own questions, not to learn of her views of the situation, but to get answers to questions that women think are important. It is alright for men to ask questions about issues involving mainly women, but it is important for female viewers to get answers to the questions that they themselves may be concerned about.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 1:45 pm

      You did a nice, measured, reasoned job of framing this issue. I think you’re going to do fine on the team deconstruction project!

  8. Yaritza Lopez (noon) permalink
    September 8, 2012 3:38 pm

    Personally, I feel that women are not listened to quite as much as men, much less actually paid attention to. Men have always pretty much decided things for women, but slowly and surely things are changing into our favor, like this article quite simply proved. Abortion, birth control, and other “womanly” things like that should first be considered from a WOMAN’S point of view; after all, women are the ones having (or not having) the babies. The two females who are now being admitted to the debates should have the right to ask their own questions and voice their own thoughts. This is because, if they have children, they will speak with a maternal mental state and be more genuine about their questions. There are more issues affecting women that don’t necessarily have to do with parental things like this, but since these two were mentioned I felt it necessary to emphasize on it because, well, I’m a woman and should be heard.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 1:46 pm

      Great! So, this November—and every day—make yourself be heard.

  9. Johanna Sterkel permalink
    September 8, 2012 3:46 pm

    I agree to the article. In my opinion it is important that women get more involved in the presidential election. Topics like abortion and birth control affects men and women. So women obviously should also have a right to discuss those important topics. In today’s society gender equality is getting popular. For example European countries try to make no differences between genders. The United States of America as the land of freedom and unlimited opportunities should treat women and men equally. The presidential election is a huge and very important event, because it decides about America’s future. So women should have the right to moderate and decide what questions are important and whom they want to ask. I think it is fatal if 76% of men write articles because men often have different opinions about certain topics than women. With these results it is clear that there must be a change within media in gender equality.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 1:48 pm

      The research project I refer to above would be a content analysis of the language men and women use in crafting questions for the debate. Another useful study, based on your comment, might be whether a reader can discern gender from the questions—tony, type, language choice—asked at a debate.

  10. Jennifer Morgan permalink
    September 8, 2012 3:48 pm

    I agree with the article and the issue it brings to attention. This year’s presidential election has many debates, most of which directly impact women such as abortion and birth control. Although women’s rights have come a long way, there are still a lot of sexist issues within society. In my opinion women should take a more prominent role within the election as these issues directly affect them. It seems corrupt that 76% of articles written about the election and these issues are by men, how could they possibly have a greater understanding than female journalists when they have not been directly impacted by it? It is unfortunate that women journalists are not voicing their opinions and experience to the public on important issues that will affect them directly. This has a negative impact on society as well since individuals that look to major newspapers as they are not being informed by equal gender opinions. Women should have the greatest say in this debate as it is their future and gender it most directly affects.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 1:50 pm

      I wish it could be true that male journalists (and men in general) were empathetic enough for this not to be an issue. Then your central question would be a moot point. But …

  11. Reanna Edwards permalink
    September 8, 2012 5:51 pm

    My initial response to this article lacked any sense of shock. With women still paid some 70 cents to the dollar compared to men, I’m not very surprised that men have contributed 70% and up of the written articles on the presidential election. I hadn’t noticed it, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a woman moderate a presidential debate (probably because the last time that happened I was an infant). Even though women have been liberated from our oppressed past, I think there is still some sense of inferiority at play in the psychology behind these issues whether we project it, or men are still thought as superior, perhaps subconsciously. One of the points made was that women should especially moderate when topics such as abortion and birth control are included in the candidates’ platform and rhetoric. However, I don’t think that a woman must ask questions that pertain only to women. A man can be just as qualified to ask the same questions. What should be in the front of our minds, however, should be the people on the other end of those questions–the male candidates and their answers.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 3:19 pm

      Thanks for reminding us of the bigger picture by bringing up the issue of pay inequality. No wonder the story came as no surprise.

  12. Taylor Rink permalink
    September 9, 2012 1:58 pm

    The overwhelming statistics that men have written over 75% of articles covering a presidential race in which its major issues center around topics directly affecting women is hard to overlook. What is even harder to believe is that this was never brought to my attention prior to Kroin’s article. It is disheartening when controversial topics directly relating to women, such as abortion and birth control, are not being covered by those who can personally relate, or those whom female readers and voters can personally relate to. However, that may be the reason they have chosen only two women, who they have supplied with scripted agendas, to cover the debate. Women could become more easily emotionally biased and/or offended during interviews. It’s hard to remain unbiased when you feel you are being personally attacked by someone who cannot relate to the issue at hand. For that reason, I can see where they are coming from on the debate standpoint. However, the fact that there aren’t many women writers covering the presidential race irks me. It really is, “bad reporting,” as Kroin says.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 3:21 pm

      So much goes unreported or underreported amid the cacophony and clutter of what passes for news that it’s a challenge to spot something like this. I hope this course is heightening your awareness of these issues.

  13. Lauren Neiman permalink
    September 9, 2012 2:03 pm

    I agree with this article. It seems that a woman’s voice has become a footnote in the presidential election. As a woman, I read this article and it saddens me that we really have not come as far as we have thought with women’s rights. It should not be a “groundbreaking decision” to have two women as moderators. If men and women are supposedly equals, then the decision of which women to choose should be the important issue, not the fact that a woman in general is doing what most are treating as a “mans” job. Women should also not be pushed to the side when it comes to writing the reports for the election. Huge issues that only affect woman, abortion being a main concern, are giant parts of this election. Any gender should be able to report on these issues, but woman are going to want to hear what other woman are saying about what directly affects them. I agree with Kroin, having men report on 76 percent of the articles for the election is just simply unfair and bad reporting. Woman have a voice too, and it deserves to be heard.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 18, 2012 3:22 pm

      And so I pose this question as food for thought for anyone who’s reading these posts: Whose are the women’s voices in journalism that we’re hearing during the election coverage?

  14. Blanca Vanegas permalink
    September 9, 2012 5:14 pm

    I highly doubt that “this” year has been dominated by men any more than every other year in election history. And I wonder if that is partially due to there being more men that are involved in writing about politics, or editors picking men over women to cover politics. Of course I think women have a better grasp on subjects that affect women directly, but I don’t think our argument should be limited to “female issues”. Women are just as qualified as men to be professional journalists and ask questions regarding every subject.

    There is something I do not quite understand about this article. Is it a news article or a blog? I think a news article has cold hard facts, information written by someone completely unbiased. Meanwhile blogs give writers an opportunity to share information and give facts intertwined with their personal opinion.

    While in this article, Kroin shed light on important information that I did not know about, I would have loved to read this in an unbiased, impartial way.

  15. Morgan Nicola permalink
    September 9, 2012 7:36 pm

    I do agree with all of Kroin’s statements in this article men should not be the only ones reporting about these “women related” issues that are being covered in the election. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about all the matters being spoken about during the election. Sadly this is how the world is, it is basically being run by men anyways. Obviously their opinions will be more spoken about than any woman’s opinion no matter what the topic may be about. I agree with what she’s saying in the article but I don’t know what is stopping other women like Kroin who have an opinion to speak up. 75% of the articles are done by men, you have to look at the upside to this that all 100% could be men. This is bad reporting, you need to have both sides of the story covered and opinions of everyone.

  16. Karen M Aguirre Lopez permalink
    September 10, 2012 11:28 am

    I think it’s time for “The Year of The Man” to be over soon. I agree with Kroin’s article, not only are women entitled to ask questions that relate to what we go through for a good portion of our lives, but we live in a century too updated and advanced to have to deal with unequal rights. There are things that are best asked by those who have “experienced” a situation; since when have men been in a situation where they had to consider an abortion, or take pills for birth control? I hope none. These are topics that male news reporters cannot relate to because it is nothing from their nature. It would be like having the majority of women ask and answer questions about men and their “manly issues,” does that make any sense? No, we don’t know what it is like to be a “man” therefore we cannot relate to it, nevertheless ask questions about something we don’t know anything about. Female news reporters should have a stance without being told what to ask or who to ask the questions to, it’s a profession in which both genders should have equal roles.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 23, 2012 8:43 pm

      At an orientation at a college where I was starting a new job years ago, the reference librarian was proudly informing new faculty of her just-completed project of indexing all the books on feminism and gender for a “women’s studies” database. One of my male colleagues objected, demanding to know where the “men’s studies” section was. To which the reference librarian replied calmly, “That’s the rest of the library.”

  17. Gianna Libretti permalink
    September 10, 2012 2:05 pm

    Generally women have much more rights and freedom today than that of even a decade ago. This is astounding that this article shows us how little women have had a say in this years’ upcoming election. Many of the issues in the upcoming election are solely women’s rights such as abortion and birth control. Only interviewing men and barely giving women a voice in interviews and quotes is completely biased and making the progress of how far we have come with women’s rights a joke. Hopefully the two women chosen to moderate the presidential debates will make up for the absence of women’s voices in the election. Editors and reporters in this election need to open their eyes and give women a say during these debates and conferences, after all women’s issues take up a huge portion of this election. Giving women a voice in this election could be the voice to change one’s mind on an issue that a man could not have the ability to do. This needs to change.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 23, 2012 8:46 pm

      So, what are you planning to do about it, yourself? (he asked rhetorically). Women stand a chance of having a greater impact than ever in this fall’s presidential election — just as young voters might have had in 2004 if they’d actually gone out and voted instead of sitting at home, smugly watching that ridiculous Eminem video. Should be fascinating to see what exit polls tell us.

  18. kenzipolotto permalink
    September 10, 2012 2:49 pm

    I completely agree with this article. As I was reading this article I found certain points to be pretty alarming. The statistics were shockingly more dramatic than I had ever imagined. This article brought to my attention that maybe women’s rights are not as exercised as we think they are. A woman that was assigned merely “a town-hall gig” should not be considered “progress” if our rights were executed correctly. My question is why shouldn’t women cover the presidential race? What is the possible negativity that woman could emanate when reporting the presidential race? Especially since this particular race is based on issues that directly impact woman such as birth control and abortion rights. What would men really know about those things anyway? Women may be more emotionally attached to those subjects, but emotional reactions are merely just opinions as well. Women are just as capable as men when it comes to reporting the straight facts of the goings-on within the presidential race. Although women may have stronger feelings about particular subjects, this does not make them incapable of reporting correctly or sufficiently. If anything, a woman’s stand point is more viable than a man’s when regarding these subjects, although they may have an opinion, they could never truly understand the impact those things have on our lives.

    • rkenney permalink
      September 23, 2012 8:49 pm

      Interesting point, linking emotions and opinions to political action. I suspect that this year, there might be more of that influencing the vote. Usually, when it comes down to casting a vote, those in the booth think first about what’s in their wallet/pocketbook/purse. Wonder whether that will play out this year, or whether women will sway the outcome for other reasons.

  19. Kaitlin Parker permalink
    September 11, 2012 6:27 pm

    I think that this world has come so far with certain issues. Every man in this world would beg to differ that women’s right are protected. Its sad to say but right now at this very moment birth control, and abortion rights, and other women issues are at stake in this presidential election. To read this article and see how men still are held at a higher respect then women that really upsets me. I think that women should have every right just like the men to be moderators for this presidential debates. Women and men are supposed to be equal; equal rights but in this article obviously they are making a big deal about “not one but two women in the mix this fall” which makes it seem to me like this was a huge deal to them. I think that it is great and women should be more involved.

  20. Brittany Brodowsky permalink
    September 11, 2012 10:18 pm

    In regards to this article, as both a reader and a woman, my initial reaction was to be outraged at this blatant lack of equality between the sexes. I agree with the article that this is ”bad reporting” on the part of the media, to allow any one particular groups voice to be heard over another to such a degree. What is the media’s purpose in allowing men to be front-in-center reporting on subjects that have no direct effect or consequence for them? Abortion and birth control issues are topics that directly affect the female population in our society and therefore, the media should be catering to that particular audience (women), by having a women there front-and-center asking the questions and getting the answers that are important to us, not men who think they have a general idea based of polls or a general consensus of what women MIGHT want to know.

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